Alright! here is chapter 5. Please enjoy.
I don't own the characters, I'm just playing with them.
Bulkhead screamed as he bolted straight up in bed. He quickly scanned the room, his berth room. The cold dread in the pit of his tanks slowly faded away to relief and disappointment. "Just a nightmare" He breathed to himself. He placed a large servo over his chest, his spark almost felt as if it was trying to burst through his chest plates. Bulkhead continued to breathe deeply, but when he reached to turn on the lights he became aware that his servos were trembling harshly.
He let out a groan as he rolled over in berth, deciding whether he was going to get up, or risk another nightmare. The thought of seeing Wheeljack lying in a gruesome pool of his own energon propelled him out of berth. He knew it was just a dream, but just thinking of it made his tanks roll with terror. The large green mech stood next to his berth, it was 2am earth time. The others would be asleep, so would Miko. With a sigh Bulkhead slunk out of his room, trying (and failing) to keep his ped falls silent.
He walked through the hallways, recalling the horrifying flux he had been cursed with since Wheeljack disappeared. It always starts off peaceful, the two of them walking with each other, hand in hand. The atmosphere was different each time, a large beach with clean white sand. The sound of the glistening water lapped up on the shores off to the distance. The air had smelled sweet with the pink cotton candy that Miko loved, human children were splashing about in the ocean.
Another dream had them walking through an empty field, lined with trees and bright blue flowers. Everything was always so stunningly beautiful, but none as perfect as the mech beside him. 'Jackie would smile at him happily, before reaching up for a soft kiss. He was so sweet and loving, yet still held the hard headed air that Wheeljack always had.
Everything would be absolutely perfect, but it never lasted. The dream would rapidly change its course, starting with something simple. The sky would darken, or the children's laughter would rise to unholy screams of terror and pain. Water on the beaches would turn red with blood, staining the pristine white sand. Wheeljack's smile would fall as he backed away from Bulkhead, terror filled optics staring right through him.
Then there came a need, a need to turn and look behind him. He never knew why, but something in the pit of his unsettled tanks told him to look. Reluctantly he always turned, no matter how much he dreaded what he knew he would see.
Wheeljack, or more so, the body of Wheeljack. He hung horrifically from a noose, his grey frame splattered with blue energon. His chest plates were clawed open, but there was no spark to be seen. But even though Wheeljack's spark was extinguished, even though his body was sickeningly torn apart, he was looking right at Bulkhead. His shimmering blue optics now voids of black, his face frozen in an expression of terror and pain.
"Bulkhead" he breathed weakly, "W- why did you d- do this to m-m - me?"
That's when Bulkhead would wake up screaming.
Wheeljack wasn't helpless though, Bulkhead knew that. The mech had been captured many times before; on the other hand, Wheeljack should have found a way out by now. He was tricky, and incredibly smart, after all he had been a scientist before the war began. That was one of the things that Bulkhead loved about 'Jackie, he was always so humble about his work. Sure most of his projects blew up in his face; he even set a few records for biggest explosions back in the day. But when he got something right, boy did he ever. Some of the most revolutionary technology in the golden age came from his labs. He and a team of fellow scientists were considered the best.
Sometimes it baffled Bulkhead how much Wheeljack had changed over the years, from a spunky little scientist, to a war hardened, scared and gruff soldier. Part of Bulkhead ached to meet the old Wheeljack (he never knew him before the war), not that he would love the older Wheeljack any more than the current one he was blessed with.
His spark gave a particularly hard throb of pain at the thought of the mad scientist walking up to him with a huge smile, covered in soot and burn marks, and holding his detached arm. Even with the wreckers he would do crazy slag like that!
He would create a new weapon, it would explode, and 'Jackie would cheerily walk up to their medic, asking for his limbs to be re-attached. One memory in particular had Wheeljack on the operating table, with the wrecker's medic patching him up. He was covered in ash and most of his paint had burnt off. When Bulkhead walked by the scientist had snatched his own hand (that had fallen off after a big explosion) and chucked it at the green mech. All while hollering
"HEY BULK! NEED A HAND?" The medic was not impressed, to say the least. Bulkhead chuckled softly; he just wanted Wheeljack to come home in one piece.
His further trip down memory lane was interrupted as Ratchet burst out his berth-room door. The doctor set Bulkhead a hard glare before saying "You know, SOME of us are trying to sleep here Bulkhead." With a sheepish grin Bulkhead realised how loud his footsteps had been. After giving an apology to the grumpy medic, Bulkhead transformed and drove out of the base. He may as well get some fresh air while he walked.
After transforming back to mech mode, Bulkhead continued walking through the dry atmosphere. Without a designation, he just started walking in a random direction. He continued to reminisce over Wheeljack again. Recalling all the laughs, all the pain and fear they had endured together. Some of the gutsiest moves and some of the funniest jokes all came from his old friend. Maybe one day they could be more than friends? Bulkhead guiltily stomped down the idea in his helm. Wheeljack deserved so much more than him, besides, they weren't even sure if 'Jackie was still alive.
He walked for a good hour, but just as he was about to turn around and head back to the base, he noticed something off. There was a light, shining like a soft star off in the distance. That didn't make any sense, the closest city was Jasper, but he wasn't anywhere near that. The only answer could be a fire, yet there was nothing to burn around here if it were wild. Could it be campers? No, who would drive hours away from a city to camp in a big, empty desert? It just didn't make any sense. With a deciding nod, Bulkhead transformed and drove towards the light.
Turns out, that light was actually coming from inside a cave. Bulkhead pulled up to the cave and quietly transformed, he hid behind one of the large rocks lining the entrance and cautiously peered in. Immediately his spark jumped with a mixture of panic and excitement. Inside the cave, standing next to a large fire, was none other than Starscream. The Decepticon stowaway paced back and forth, his peds making soft clicking sounds against the damp stone. Bulkhead leaned in closer to hear what the seeker was muttering under his breath as he tirelessly walked back and forth.
"Stupid drone, why is he so special anyways. Whoop-dee-doo he has no face, who cares!?" The mech snarled venomously, "Why does he get to be the favorite, he's only a communications officer, easy to replace. All he does is suck up to Megatron and instantly the mech wants to frag him... typical. OHH… he tied against Megatron in the gladiator pits? Big deal! Optimus kicks Megatron's aft so often you would think he would be used to losing by now." The seeker ended his rant with a growl and spat on the ground. With a jolt the smaller mech looked up at Bulkheads hiding spot, but the Autobot had already transformed and was zipping off towards the base. With a swear Starscream stomped out the fire.
Bulkhead slammed into the base with a loud clang. "OPTIMUS!" he screamed, as he threw himself at his leaders closed door. "OUTSIDE! STARCSCREAM! CAVE!" Bulkhead sprinted to Arcee's door and slammed on that as well. "EVERYONE WAKE THE FRAG UP! THIS IS IMPORTANT!"
"I need my beauty sleep" Bulkhead heard Ratchet growl sarcastically as the older mech slowly opened up his berth room door. "What. Do. You. want?"
Arcee bolted out of her room.
"What is it bulkhead?" She asked, her voice was steady and alert but she was clearly unnerved. Optimus finally slunk from his room with a sleepy and confused expression.
"What's wrong!? Are we under attack!?" Bumblebee gasped as he dashed through the hall to the group.
"OH, Please." Ratchet muttered as he slouched against the wall, "I think Bulkhead finally lost his processor".
"That's not funny!" Bulkhead said with frustration, "I saw him! Outside!"
"Saw who?" Optimus finally rumbled, placing a comforting servo on his friends shoulder.
"Starscream, he is in a cave nearby!"
"What were you even doing out his late... er… early?"
"Couldn't sleep. Come on lets go. Maybe if we are fast enough we can catch him."
"Bulkhead, does this have anything at all to do with Wheeljack?"
A pregnant silence followed Optimus's question as all the bots looked at the large green mech. "Maybe" he mumbled, suddenly feeling like a sparkling as he looked down at his peds.
"Bulkhead-" Optimus sighed softly.
"Come on, Optimus. Starscream says he knows where Wheeljack is. I just want to get him back." The ex-wreckers voice faded into a mumble at the end.
"We all do." Arcee said softly. Agreed with by a soft whir from Bumblebee and an unusually stoic nod from Ratchet.
With a soft sigh and a squeeze on his friends shoulder the leader finally said "Autobots prepare for battle and move out."
Bulkhead looked at him with thankful optics as the others went to quickly grab what weapons they could.
The Autobots had prepared for battle, scanned the area, and even had a backup human squad waiting nearby. Yet when they reached the mouth of the cave, it was completely empty. Bulkhead walked into the damp area with a dumbfound expression. The bot's ped falls sent soft echoes through the cave. The sound of dripping water added an un-earthy feel to the dark surroundings. Warily Optimus switched on his lights, illumination the dank cavity.
"No" Bulkhead breathed as he looked around with horror. The cave was completely empty; there were no traces of any life ever being there, not to mention a fire. Ratchet let out a groan before muttering "I could have been sleeping".
Bulkheads spark sank with bleakness before he whirled around to face his comrades. He had to choke back a sob at the sight of the worried and frustrated looks he was getting. The burning sensation of tears built up in the back of his throat and he swallowed it down stubbornly, he was not going to cry. With a soft sigh Optimus shook his head and slowly brought his servo up against his audio to press the com-link. "Optimus Prime to back up: stand down. I repeat stand down." Soft clicks and footsteps filled the air as the human soldiers silently retreated to their military vehicles.
A stormy Agent Fowler marched in and glared daggers at the cybertronians. He rested his hands on his hips and oddly reminded Bulkhead of a moody Ratchet. "Ya 'know Prime, no offence and all, but my men can't gulp down a handy dandy cube of energy and march into battle. They need a little something called sleep… Like me!"
"My sincere apologies Agent Fowler," Optimus rumbled softly, "We expected a Decepticon here tonight." The human scowled at the great mech before Ratchet snarled back "Hey, we need to recharge just as much as you do buddy." Before anything could be done about it, the two fighters launched into a heated argument about sleeping and energon. Bumblebee shifted uncomfortably at the colourful language both men had to share with each other… who would have known that Ratchet knew human swears in English, Spanish, Japanese, and German?
"That is enough" Optimus boomed above the equally grouchy voices. "Everyone is low on energy and we aren't getting anything from standing in this empty cave arguing about it."
"Finally something we can agree on" Fowler snapped, "I need my beauty sleep." With that he turned and walked towards his car.
"You will need a lot of it!" Ratchet hollered after him. The man just snarled back at him before slamming his car door, starting the engine, and driving away.
"That was an unnecessary remark, Ratchet" Optimus murmured softly.
"Maybe, but it was definitely worth it."
"Fragging Autobots" Starscream muttered as he watched them drive off together. That stupid green one had brought them all, good thing he was a great lug and easy to spot. Starscream had had just enough time to clean up and hide in a nearby canyon before they arrived with an entire squad of squishies! Part of the seeker boasted in pride at the fact that they brought half of their army just to capture him. His wings perked up with vanity and he grinned, he must be hard to catch.
With a hum the seeker watched as the bright red sun stained the sky like human liquids. He did have to admit, Earth sunrises were much nicer than the ones back on his home planet (not that he would ever admit it out loud).
Bulkhead woefully watched the sun rise higher in the sky, wondering if some where 'Jackie was looking at it to. Once they had gotten back to the base, everyone had gone back to berth, besides him. In fear of his nightmare Bulkhead went to the top the base to watching the sun and sulk. Not that it really mattered how beautiful it looked, not without Wheeljack to share it with.
This time when the lift clanged to a halt he took notice. Turning his helm he watched as Optimus climbed out, holding 2 energon cubes.
"Two handy dandy cubes of energy ready for order" he joked softly, not really laughing. Bulkhead just accepted a cube and thanked his leader in a low voice.
Optimus frowned and gently clasped a servo on his old friends shoulder. "We'll get him back, Bulkhead" he reassured gently, "just you see."
Nothing else needed to be said as they watched the sun blaze through the darkness like a promise from the heavens.
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